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Thread: Steel City hybrid saw with riving knife and granite top

  1. #1

    Steel City hybrid saw with riving knife and granite top

    This saw was announced last year, with availability expected in late 2007. I've now seen a couple of threads mentioning availability in early 2008. I'm looking to buy my first real tablesaw and have been leaning toward a good hybrid. I want the additional safety/convenience of a riving knife and am intrigued by the granite option on the Steel City. I might opt for the conventional cast iron, but I still want a riving knife, which unfortunately is a scarce feature among saws in my bracket. Does anyone have any information on when the new Steel City saws will actually hit the market and whether we'll be able to buy them through Woodcraft?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Stoner View Post
    This saw was announced last year, with availability expected in late 2007. I've now seen a couple of threads mentioning availability in early 2008. I'm looking to buy my first real tablesaw and have been leaning toward a good hybrid. I want the additional safety/convenience of a riving knife and am intrigued by the granite option on the Steel City. I might opt for the conventional cast iron, but I still want a riving knife, which unfortunately is a scarce feature among saws in my bracket. Does anyone have any information on when the new Steel City saws will actually hit the market and whether we'll be able to buy them through Woodcraft?
    I spoke with Scott Box (VP of Steel City) about a week and a half ago, David. They are doing everything within reason to have it out to distributors by late Febuary. That is not necessarily a gaurantee, only the time line they are shooting for it the stars and moons align as predicted. But... at that time all was leading to that date!

    Good luck and BTW.. I have their granite fence on my 8" SC jointer. Love it!

    Sarge..

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    i too am shopping for a new TS and the Steel City is on my list. my local Woodcraft guys couldn't tell me whether or not the new models would have riving knifes, a key feature i'm looking for in a new saw. glad to hear that Steel City will be including them. that puts them back near the top of my list.
    i'm curious about the granite top. sounds great, flat, solid, smooth. but one nice thing about steel/cast iron is that magnetic featherboards work with it. after using a featherboard in a class i took i really like it and don't know that i'd want to give that aid up...

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    Can someone tell me why granite is better then cast iron for a tablesaw? Not trying to be a smarta**, I really haven't heard a compelling reason. Looks cool I guess, but is that all there is to it?

  5. #5
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    Granite Tabletop

    Here are a couple of reasons.

    1. Flat. Really flat, and it will stay that way.

    2. Rust. Or should I say lack of. Ever heard of granite rustinbg?

    That should be two great reasons.
    Dave Laird
    D and N Specialties (Laser Engraving)
    Pro Sales for Woodworker's Supply in Albuquerque, NM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Rozmiarek View Post
    Can someone tell me why granite is better then cast iron for a tablesaw? Not trying to be a smarta**, I really haven't heard a compelling reason. Looks cool I guess, but is that all there is to it?
    Cast iron is seasoned for 6 months or so before machining, much like wood. In a recent interview with the Steel City folks, they claim that despite many best efforts there is a reasonable amount of waste product due to pieces of Cast Iron that keep on moving (released stress) after being machined. This results in returned wings and tops or whole machine returns.

    The granite is supposed to be more stable. When some folks are disappointed at the dish or wave in their machine tops, believe me, the manufacturer didn't machine it wavy; that happened after.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 02-04-2008 at 10:07 PM.
    "What kind of chump do you take me for?"
    "First class."

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    Also the added weight adds some more stability and vibration dampening.

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    Heard from Toolking that they will not be available until May at the earliest...
    Being a brand new product, who knows what problems they have? I gave up and
    purchased a new Jet Saw...
    Last edited by Art Travers; 02-04-2008 at 10:52 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Ok, I like no rust, but, a coat of wax every now and then works too, and I'm a little skeptical about good cast iron moving after machining. Lots of cast iron engines out there, and I have yet to hear of a running engine suddely siezing up because of the iron spontaniously warping. I wonder if there might be manufacturing quality spec diferences in play here. I bet Caterpiller spends a lot more on quality cast iron and machining than Steel City or Grizz.

    Isn't the granite a bit brittle, like granite counter tops are? Especially where ever there is a relief cut, like a miter gauge slot?

    Sorry to hijack the thread, just kind of thought of these saw tops as a gimicky idea, and was curious what you guys thought.

  10. Iím with Steve on this one. I think itís more of a gimmick than an advance in machine design. For every advantage, I can think of a disadvantage. Wood working machines live long lives and are often abused. Cast iron holds up well to abuse. If this is such a great idea, why did we not see it 50 years ago? I wonder what will a granite table saw top look like in 50 years? Will it hold up as well as the old Unisaws and Powermatics? Iím not willing to pay Steel City for the privilege of testing the idea. I hope Steel City has some sharp accountants who can estimate the accrual for warranty expense for these things. I would personally sleep better at night on cast iron than granite;-)

    Scott

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    With all due respect Steve.. after having worked in restoration of American Muscle Cars for the past 30 years or so... have you ever seen an engine that the crank-shaft or pistons were made of cast iron? ... Do a google search on "cast iron" and you will understand that is not as hard as you might imagine and why steel is used on the parts mentioned.

    Scott.. possibly the reason no one used it 50 years ago is that nobody either thought of it.. or if they did, they weren't willking to take the financial gamble of taking it to market. But.. SC has no intentions of not offering their machines only in granite as cast iron will remain on the menu for those that prefer for whatever reason.

    So.. you have the choice of chosing granite.. cast iorn or getting a TS from another manufacturer as they are not attempting to have any laws passed to require all those in the market for a saw to buy from them.

    BTW.. I did not pay for my granite jointer fence. They brought it to my shop.. installed it on my jointer after they ask me to field test it for them. And trust me.. they did a ton of testing for wear and breakage before they decided to pull the trigger and give it a go. The tops are re-enforced with stainless steel bars epoxied and incorporated into the granite top.

    Regards...

    Sarge..
    Last edited by John Thompson; 02-05-2008 at 2:41 AM.

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    Good morning Sarge, we both used to frequent that other forum, and I respect your opinions. I'm not trying to discourge anybody from buying these tools, it's their money and we can all buy whatever we want.

    Cast iron has been well vetted, and while I could be wrong, I'm holding off on spending my money on this idea just yet.

    As for cast iron parts in engines, there are cast and forged cranks, with the forged being more desirable than the cast. Detriot diesel engines use a multi part cast iron or steel contraption for their piston in some engines. I'm sure there is a difference in moleular make up of the steel or iron between a cylinder head, a block and a crank shaft. Probably a difference between a Felder and a Grizz as well. My point is that warped pieces seem to me to be a quality issue rather than a materials issue.

  13. #13
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    there are different grades of cast iron from what i have been told by a big wig at General Electrics diesel engine plant. from my little bit of reseach cast iron is garbage steel (lower grade usually made of steel shavings of many different grades of steel). the big wig said each time they recycle cast iron shavings the quality of the cast is diminished significantly and that they use virgin cast in there engine components. me personally being in the market for a new table saw i wouldnt jump on granite tops for a few years until they have been field tested for a couple of years. i know i use my current table saw for everything from a saw to an assembly table and it takes alot of abuse with no problems. and i dont know if granite would hold up to the abuse. but i was seriously looking into the titanium coated steel city table saw though but held off till i heard some feedback about it. i really dont undestand the need for titanium either unless it is for corrosion resistance. but even then i treat my ts top with top coat and i have never had any problems.

    im not trying to slam steel city for trying to push the envelope and break out of the mold by any means but i am skeptical until i have seen it in use for a few years. also i thought steel city was a nickname for pittsburgh pa and not china. granted i know 95% of all woodworking tools and machinery are made in china or tiawan. does anyone know of any brands made in america. i looked around and havent found any atleast not yet

    btw does anyone have a link to this saw i would like to read up on it a bit more

  14. #14
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    Morning Steve...

    And I also respect your opinion and everyone else's for that matter. I just wanted to point out that cast iron is not "kyrptonite" as many think of it on that level and have put it on a pedestal on the level with steel, which it ain't.

    Everyone should do a Google and understand that cast iron comes in many grades with carbon content being the big factor that determines the grade. Even with super quality control those all phases of the long process of making it, un-even carbon distribution can result in stress and often not show up till later. Cast iron seems hard to most of us, but it is really a soft species compared to steel, more porous and somewhat brittle. It has it's place in metal working and that place should be "what it is" and not "what it is concieved to be".

    And yes.. before a major purchase, we should do our home-work and really know what we are getting into instead of assuming this or assuming that. I will point out something that was mentioned by a poster earlier, the Steel City Saw WILL NOT ACCEPT A MAGNETIC FEATHER-BOARD OR OTHER JIG FIXTURE.

    And.. the Steel City granite top TS WILL NOT ACCEPT AN AFTERMARKET MITER GUAGE such as the Incra.. Kreg.. etc. The miter slot is standard with a standard metal bar but... The SC miter bar has a 2" wide tab at the end that rides in a widened slot to dissapate pressure for those that will pull a miter guage loaded with heavy stock weight back to the rear edge of the table. The slot was tested with 400 lbs. tensile strenght to within 2" of the table edge and no problem with subjected use. But.. the line is drawn outside that 2" mark as it could chip the re-enforece granite.

    So... buyer beware if those are issues to you at as a potentail customer. And I will add that a miter guage with heavy load should not be pulled back that far with a cast iron table also as it can and will crack it. Again.. the cast iron is not case hardened steel and it certainly ain't Kyrptonite. Superman could eat cast iron sandwiches for lunch and not even belch!

    Brad... The president of Steel City and Orion owner is from Pittsburg, hence the name Steel City Toolworks. And no.. there are no current major machines being produced for home shop that are made in the USA anymore as all are farmed out due to labor cost, etc.

    Not a shock to me as I first saw General Motors 4 cylinder engines being produced back in the early 80's. Sold in the U.S., but made in Mexico. Reality is reality I suppose.

    Regards...

    Sarge..

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Thompson View Post
    Brad... The president of Steel City and Orion owner is from Pittsburg, hence the name Steel City Toolworks. And no.. there are no current major machines being produced for home shop that are made in the USA anymore as all are farmed out due to labor cost, etc.

    Not a shock to me as I first saw General Motors 4 cylinder engines being produced back in the early 80's. Sold in the U.S., but made in Mexico. Reality is reality I suppose.

    Regards...

    Sarge..
    Some of delta's tools, powermatic 66, general is still made in Canada and theres Northfield too.

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